Sylvère Lotringer

Sylvère Lotringer is Jean Baudrillard Chair at the European Graduate School, Switzerland, and Professor Emeritus of French literature and philosophy at Columbia University.

  • Schizo-Culture, 2-vol. set

    Schizo-Culture, 2-vol. set

    The Event, The Book

    Sylvère Lotringer and David Morris

    Never-before-published lectures, Q&As, and squabbles from the conference that introduced French theory into America, with a facsimile of the journal issue that emerged from it.

    I think “schizo-culture” here is being used rather in a special sense. Not referring to clinical schizophrenia, but to the fact that the culture is divided up into all sorts of classes and groups, etc., and that some of the old lines are breaking down. And that this is a healthy sign. —William Burroughs, from Schizo-Culture

    The legendary 1975 “Schizo-Culture” conference, conceived by the early Semiotext(e) collective, began as an attempt to introduce the then-unknown radical philosophies of post-'68 France to the American avant-garde. The event featured a series of seminal papers, from Deleuze's first presentation of the concept of the “rhizome” to Foucault's introduction of his History of Sexuality project. The conference was equally important on a political level, and brought together a diverse group of activists, thinkers, patients, and ex-cons in order to address the challenge of penal and psychiatric institutions. The combination proved to be explosive, but amid the fighting and confusion “Schizo-Culture” revealed deep ruptures in left politics, French thought, and American culture.

    The “Schizo-Culture” issue of the Semiotext(e) journal came three years later. Designed by a group of artists and filmmakers including Kathryn Bigelow and Denise Green, it documented the chaotic creativity of an emerging downtown New York scene, and offered interviews with artists, theorists, writers, and No Wave and pre-punk musicians together with new texts from Deleuze, Foucault, R. D. Laing, and other conference participants.

    This slip-cased edition includes The Book: 1978, a facsimile reproduction of the original Schizo-Culture publication; and The Event: 1975, a previously unpublished and comprehensive record of the conference that set it all off. It assembles many previously unpublished texts, including a detailed selection of interviews reconstructing the events, and features Félix Guattari, William Burroughs, Kathy Acker, Michel Foucault, Sylvère Lotringer, Guy Hocquenghem, Gilles Deleuze, John Rajchman, Robert Wilson, Joel Kovel, Jack Smith, Jean-François Lyotard, Ti-Grace Atkinson, François Peraldi, and John Cage.

  • The German Issue, New Edition

    The German Issue, New Edition

    Sylvère Lotringer

    A first-hand account of the Western world on the threshold of a major global mutation, bridging art and intellect, culture and politics, Europe and America.

    The German Issue (1982) was originally conceived as a follow-up to Semiotext(e)'s Autonomia/Italy issue, published two years earlier. Although ideological terrorism was still a major issue in Germany, what ultimately emerged from these pages was an investigation of two outlaw cities, Berlin and New York, which embodied all the tensions and contradictions of the world at the time. The German Issue is the Tale of Two Cities, then, with each city separated from its own country by an invisible wall of suspicion or even hatred. It is also the complex evocation of the rebelling youth—squatters, punks, artists and radicals, theorists and ex-terrorists—who gathered all their energy and creativity in order to outlive a hostile environment. Like a time capsule, The German Issue brings together all the major “issues” that were being debated on both sides of the Atlantic—which eventually found their abrupt resolution in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It involved the most important voices of the period—from writers and filmmakers to anthropologists, activists and poets, terrorists and philosophers: Joseph Beuys, Michel Foucault, Christo, Christa Wolf, Walter Abish, Alexander Kluge, Paul Virilio, Ulrilke Meinhof, William Burroughs, Jean Baudrillard, Hans Magnus Enzenberger, Maurice Blanchot, Hans Jürgen Syberberg, Heidegger, André Gorz, Helke Sander. Opening with Christo's “Wrapping Up of Germany” and the celebrated dialogue between East German dramaturge Heiner Müller and Sylvère Lotringer on the Wall (“Mauer”), since published in many languages, The German Issue offers a first-hand account of the Western world on the threshold of a major global mutation. It also embodies at its best Semiotext(e)'s tenacious effort to establish a creative bridge between art and intellect, culture and politics, Europe and America.

  • Soft Subversions, New Edition

    Soft Subversions, New Edition

    Texts and Interviews 1977–1985

    Félix Guattari and Sylvère Lotringer

    A new, expanded, and reorganized edition of a collection of texts that present a fuller scope to Guattari's thinking from 1977 to 1985.

    This new edition of Soft Subversions expands, reorganizes, and develops the original 1996 publication, offering a carefully organized arrangement of essays, interviews, and short texts that present a fuller scope to Guattari's thinking from 1977 to 1985. This period encompasses what Guattari himself called the “Winter Years” of the early 1980s—the ascent of the Right, the spread of environmental catastrophe, the rise of a disillusioned youth with diminished prospects for career and future, and the establishment of a postmodernist ideology that offered solutions toward adaptation rather than change—a period with discernible echoes twenty years later. Following Semiotext(e)'s release last season of the new, expanded edition of Chaosophy: Texts and Interviews 1972–1977, this book makes Guattari's central ideas and concepts fully available in the format that had been best suited to Guattari's temperament: the guerrilla-styled intervention of the short essay and interactive dialogue. This edition includes such previously unpublished, substantive texts as “Institutional Intervention” and “About Schools,” along with new translations of “War, Crisis, or Life” and “The Nuclear State,” interviews and essays on a range of topics including adolescence and Italy, dream analysis and schizo-analysis, Marcel Proust and Jimmy Carter, as well as invaluable autobiographical documents such as “I Am an Idea-Thief” and “So What.”

  • Chaosophy, New Edition

    Chaosophy, New Edition

    Texts and Interviews 1972–1977

    Félix Guattari and Sylvère Lotringer

    Groundbreaking essays that introduce Guattari's theories of “schizo-analysis,” in an expanded edition.

    Chaosophy is an introduction to Félix Guattari's groundbreaking theories of “schizo-analysis”: a process meant to replace Freudian interpretation with a more pragmatic, experimental, and collective approach rooted in reality. Unlike Freud, who utilized neuroses as his working model, Guattari adopted the model of schizophrenia—which he believed to be an extreme mental state induced by the capitalist system itself, and one that enforces neurosis as a way of maintaining normality. Guattari's post-Marxist vision of capitalism provides a new definition not only of mental illness, but also of the micropolitical means for its subversion. Chaosophy includes such provocative pieces as “Everybody Wants to Be a Fascist,” a group of texts on Guattari's collaborative work with Gilles Deleuze (including the appendix to Anti-Oedipus, not available in the English edition), and “How Martians Make Love,” a roundtable discussion with Guattari, Lotringer, Catherine Clément, and Serge Leclaire from 1972 (still unpublished in French). This new, expanded edition features a new introduction by François Dosse (author of a new biography of Guattari and Gilles Deleuze) and a range of additional essays, including “Franco Basaglia: Guerrilla Psychiatrist,” ”The Transference,” “Semiological Subjection, Semiotic Enslavement,” “The Place of the Signifier in the Institution,” and “Three Billion Perverts on the Stand.”

  • Pure War, New Edition

    Pure War, New Edition

    Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer

    Virilio and Lotringer revisit their prescient book on the invisible war waged by technology against humanity since World War II.

    In June 2007, Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer met in La Rochelle, France to reconsider the premises they developed twenty-five years before in their frighteningly prescient classic, Pure War. Pure War described the invisible war waged by technology against humanity, and the lack of any real distinction since World War II between war and peace. Speaking with Lotringer in 1982, Virilio noted the “accidents” that inevitably arise with every technological development: from car crashes to nuclear spillage, to the extermination of space and the derealization of time wrought by instant communication. In this new and updated edition, Virilio and Lotringer consider how the omnipresent threat of the “accident”—both military and economic—has escalated. With the fall of the Soviet bloc, the balance of power between East and West based on nuclear deterrence has given way to a more diffuse multi-polar nuclear threat. Moreover, as the speed of communication has increased exponentially, “local” accidents—like the collapse of the Asian markets in the late 1980s—escalate, with the speed of contagion, into global events instantaneously. “Globalization,” Virilio argues, is the planet's ultimate accident.Paul Virilio was born in Paris in 1932 to an immigrant Italian family. Trained as an urban planner, he became the director of the École Speciale d'Architecture in the wake of the 1968 rebellion. He has published twenty-five books, including Pure War (1988) (his first in English) and The Accident of Art (2005), both with Sylvère Lotringer and published by Semiotext(e). Sylvère Lotringer, general editor of Semiotext(e), lives in New York and Baja California. He is the author of Overexposed: Perverting Perversions (Semiotext(e), 2007) and other books.

  • Autonomia, New Edition

    Autonomia, New Edition

    Post-Political Politics

    Sylvère Lotringer and Christian Marazzi

    The only first-hand document and contemporaneous analysis of the most innovative post-'68 radical movement in the West, the creative, futuristic, neo-anarchistic, postideological Autonomia.

    Most of the writers who contributed to the issue were locked up at the time in Italian jails.... I was trying to draw the attention of the American Left, which still believed in Eurocommunism, to the fate of Autonomia. The survival of the last politically creative movement in the West was at stake, but no one in the United States seemed to realize that, or be willing to listen. Put together as events in Italy were unfolding, the Autonomia issue—which has no equivalent in Italy, or anywhere for that matter—arrived too late, but it remains an energizing account of a movement that disappeared without bearing a trace, but with a big future still ahead of it.—Sylvère LotringerSemiotext(e) is reissuing in book form its legendary magazine issue Italy: Autonomia: Post-Political Politics, originally published in New York in 1980. Edited by Sylvère Lotringer and Christian Marazzi with the direct participation of the main leaders and theorists of the Autonomist movement (including Antonio Negri, Mario Tronti, Franco Piperno, Oreste Scalzone, Paolo Virno, Sergio Bologna, and Franco Berardi), this volume is the only first-hand document and contemporaneous analysis that exists of the most innovative post-'68 radical movement in the West. The movement itself was broken when Autonomia members were falsely accused of (and prosecuted for) being the intellectual masterminds of the Red Brigades; but even after the end of Autonomia, this book remains a crucial testimony of the way this creative, futuristic, neo-anarchistic, postideological, and nonrepresentative political movement of young workers and intellectuals anticipated issues that are now confronting us in the wake of Empire. In the next two years, Semiotext(e) will publish eight books by such Italian “Post-Fordist” intellectuals as Antonio Negri, Christian Marazzi, Paolo Virno, and Bifo, as they update the theories of Autonomia for the new century.

    Sylvère Lotringer, general editor of Semiotext(e), lives in New York and Baja California. He is the author of Overexposed: Perverting Perversions (Semiotext(e), 2007). Christian Marazzi, an Italian economist, lives in Switzerland. He is the author of Capital and Language: From the New Economy to the War Economy and Sock's Place, both forthcoming from Semiotext(e).

  • The Politics of Truth, New Edition

    The Politics of Truth, New Edition

    Michel Foucault and Sylvère Lotringer

    Ranging from reflections on the Enlightenment and revolution to a consideration of the Frankfurt School, this collection offers insight into the topics preoccupying Foucault as he worked on what would be his last body of published work, the three-volume History of Sexuality.

    In 1784, the German newspaper Berlinische Monatsschrift asked its audience to reply to the question "What is Enlightenment?" Immanuel Kant took the opportunity to investigate the purported truths and assumptions of his age. Two hundred years later, Michel Foucault wrote a response to Kant's initial essay, positioning Kant as the initiator of the discourse and critique of modernity. The Politics of Truth takes this initial encounter between Foucault and Kant, as a framework for its selection of unpublished essays and transcripts of lectures Foucault gave in America and France between 1978 and 1984, the year of his death. Ranging from reflections on the Enlightenment and revolution to a consideration of the Frankfurt School, this collection offers insight into the topics preoccupying Foucault as he worked on what would be his last body of published work, the three-volume History of Sexuality. It also offers what is in a sense the most "American" moment of Foucault's thinking, for it was in America that he realized the necessity of tying his own thought to that of the Frankfurt School.

  • Overexposed

    Overexposed

    Perverting Perversions

    Sylvère Lotringer

    A report on the administration of deviant desire in specialized clinics that documents the way our postmodern society exposes sexuality to the point of overexposure.

    Do you ever get aroused by your patient's fantasies? Do you discover through them something about your own sexuality? –About my sexuality?You are exposed to a lot of fantasies. –Oh yes. Quite frankly, I think it has a satiation effect on me. I've been a sex researcher for ten years, and sometimes I get fed up with it, you know. I talk to people about sex all day long, and it does get to be a drag. –from Overexposed

    The most perverse perversions are not always those one would expect. Originally conceived as an American update to Foucault's History of Sexuality, Overexposed is even more outrageous and thought-provoking today than it was twenty years ago when first published by a commercial publisher. By a strange reversal, rather than being punished, deviant desire now is administrated in specialized clinics under medical supervision. Sexual excess is being turned into a "boredom therapy" claiming to rid patients of their own desires by forcing them to indulge them past the point of satiety. But are perversions still perverse when they are vindicated unconditionally? At once clinical, bewildering, and deeply poignant, Overexposed shows how science can pervert itself by identifying too closely with its object. This insider's exposition of controversial cognitive behavioral methods (carried out with instruments straight out of A Clockwork Orange–penile transducer? pupillometer?) is a hallucinatory document on the manner in which our postmodern society exposes sexuality to the point of overexposure–in order to exterminate it.

  • David Wojnarowicz

    David Wojnarowicz

    A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side

    Sylvère Lotringer and Giancarlo Ambrosino

    Artist David Wojnarowicz on his work, his aspirations, his personal history, his political views; Wojnarowicz in dialogue with Sylvère Lotringer, along with personal accounts from friends and fellow artists collected after Wojnarowicz's death.

    In February 1991, the artist David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) and the philosopher Sylvère Lotringer met in a borrowed East Village apartment to conduct a long-awaited dialogue on Wojnarowicz's work. Wojnarowicz was then at the peak of his notoriety as the fiercest antagonist of morals crusader Senator Jesse Helms—a notoriety that Wojnarowicz alternately embraced and rejected. Already suffering the last stages of AIDS, David saw his dialogue with Lotringer as a chance to set the record straight on his aspirations, his personal history, and his political views. The two arranged to have this three-hour dialogue video-recorded by a mutual friend, the artist Marion Scemama. Lotringer held on to the tape for a long time. After Wojnarowicz's death the following year, he found the transcript enormously moving, yet somehow incomplete. David was trying, often with heartbreaking eloquence, to define not just his career but its position in time. The subject was huge, and transcended the actual dialogue. Lotringer then spent the next several years gathering additional commentary on Wojnarowicz's life and work from those who knew him best—the friends with whom he collaborated. Lotringer solicited personal testimony from Wojnarowicz's friends and other artists, including Mike Bildo, Steve Brown, Julia Scher, Richard Kern, Carlo McCormick, Ben Neill, Kiki Smith, Nan Goldin, Marguerite van Cook, and others. What emerges from these masterfully-conducted interviews is a surprising insight into something art history knows, but systematically hides: the collaborative nature of the work of any "great artist." All these respondents had, at one time, made performances, movies, sculptures, photographs, and other collaborative works with Wojnarowicz. In this sense, Wojnarowicz appears not only as a great originator, but as a great synthesizer.

  • The Conspiracy of Art

    The Conspiracy of Art

    Manifestos, Interviews, Essays

    Jean Baudrillard and Sylvère Lotringer

    Cutting-edge theorist Jean Baudrillard on the complicitous dance of art, politics, economics, and media; includes "War Porn," on Abu Ghraib as a new genre of reality TV.

    The images from Abu Ghraib are as murderous for America as those of the World Trade Center in flames. The whole West is contained in the burst of sadistic laughter of the American soldiers, as it is behind the construction of the Israeli wall. This is where the truth of these images lies. Truth, but not veracity. As virtual as the war itself, their specific violence adds to the specific violence of the war. In The Conspiracy of Art, Baudrillard questions the privilege attached to art by its practitioners. Art has lost all desire for illusion: feeding back endlessly into itself, it has turned its own vanishment into an art unto itself. Far from lamenting the "end of art," Baudrillard celebrates art's new function within the process of insider-trading. Spiraling from aesthetic nullity to commercial frenzy, art has become transaesthetic, like society as a whole. Conceived and edited by life-long Baudrillard collaborator Sylvère Lotringer, The Conspiracy of Art presents Baudrillard's writings on art in a complicitous dance with politics, economics, and media. Culminating with "War Porn," a scathing analysis of the spectacular images from Abu Ghraib prison as a new genre of reality TV, the book folds back on itself to question the very nature of radical thought.

  • The Accident of Art

    The Accident of Art

    Sylvère Lotringer and Paul Virilio

    There is a catastrophe within contemporary art. What I call the "optically correct" is at stake. The vision machine and the motor have triggered it, but the visual arts haven't learned from it. Instead, they've masked this failure with commercial success. This "accident" is provoking a reversal of values. In my view, this is positive: the accident reveals something important we would not otherwise know how to perceive.—Paul Virilio, The Accident of Art

    Urbanist and technological theorist Paul Virilio trained as a painter, studying under Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Bazaine and de Stael. In The Accident of Art, his third extended conversation with Sylvère Lotringer, Virilio addresses the situation of art within technological society for the first time. This book completes a collaborative trilogy the two began in 1982 with Pure War and continued with Crepuscular Dawn, their 2002 work on architecture and biotechnology. In The Accident of Art, Virilio and Lotringer argue that a direct relation exists between war trauma and art. Why has art failed to reinvent itself in the face of technology, unlike performing art? Why has art simply retreated into painting, or surrendered to digital technology? Accidents, Virilio claims, can free us from speed's inertia. As technological catastrophes, accidents are inventions in their own right.

  • Crepuscular Dawn

    Crepuscular Dawn

    Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer

    The "genetic bomb" marks a turn in the history of humanity.

    The accident is a new form of warfare. It is replacing revolution and war. Sarajevo triggered the First World War. New York is what Sarajevo was. September 11th opened Pandora's box. The first war of globalization will be the global accident, the total accident, including the accident of science. And it is on the way. In 1968, Virilio abandoned his work in oblique architecture, believing that time had replaced space as the most important point of reflection because of the dominance of speed. We were basically on the verge of converting space time into space speed... Speed facilitates the decoding of the human genome, and the possibility of another humanity: a humanity which is no longer extra-territorial, but extra-human. Crespuscular Dawn expands Virilio's vision of the implosion of physical time and space, onto the micro-level of bioengineering and biotechnology. In this cat-and-mouse dialogue between Sylvere Lotringer and Paul Virilio, Lotringer pushes Virilio to uncover the historical foundations of his biotech theories. Citing various medical experiments conducted during World War II, Lotringer asks whether biotechnology isn't the heir to eugenics and the "science for racial improvement" that the Nazis enthusiastically embraced. Will the endocolonizataion of the body come to replace the colonization of one's own population by the military? Both biographical and thematic, the book explores the development of Virilio's investigation of space (architecture, urbanism) and time (speed and simultanaeity) that would ultimately lay the foundation for his theories on biotechnology and his startling declaration that after the colonization of space begins the colonization of the body.

  • Revolt, She Said

    Revolt, She Said

    Julia Kristeva and Sylvère Lotringer

    Julia Kristeva extends the definition of revolt beyond politics per se.

    May '68 in France expressed a fundamental version of freedom: not freedom to succeed, but freedom to revolt. Political revolutions ultimately betray revolt because they cease to question themselves. Revolt, as I understand it—psychic revolt, analytic revolt, artistic revolt—refers to a permanent state of questioning, of transformations, an endless probing of appearances. In this book, Julia Kristeva extends the definition of revolt beyond politics per se. Kristeva sees revolt as a state of permanent questioning and transformation, of change that characterizes psychic life and, in the best cases, art. For her, revolt is not simply about rejection and destruction—it is a necessary process of renewal and regeneration.

  • Hatred of Capitalism

    Hatred of Capitalism

    A Semiotext(e) Reader

    Chris Kraus and Sylvère Lotringer

    Jean Baudrillard meets Cookie Mueller in this gathering of French theory and new American fiction.

    Compiled in 2001 to commemorate the passing of an era, Hatred of Capitalism brings together highlights of Semiotext(e)'s most beloved and prescient works. Semiotext(e)'s three-decade history mirrors the history of American thought. Founded by French theorist and critic Sylvere Lotringer as a scholarly journal in 1974, Semiotext(e) quickly took on the mission of melding French theory with the American art world and punk underground. Its Foreign Agents, Native Agents, Active Agents and Double Agents imprints have brought together thinkers and writers as diverse as Gilles Deleuze, Assata Shakur, Bob Flanagan, Paul Virillio, Kate Millet, Jean Baudrillard, Michelle Tea, William S. Burroughs, Eileen Myles, Ulrike Meinhof, and Fanny Howe. In Hatred of Capitalism, editors Kraus and Lotringer bring these people together in the same volume for the first time.

  • Burroughs Live

    Burroughs Live

    The Collected Interviews of William S. Burroughs, 1960–1997

    William S. Burroughs and Sylvère Lotringer

    Burroughs Live gathers all the interviews, both published and unpublished, given by William Burroughs, as well as conversations with well-known writers, artists, and musicians such as Tennessee Williams, Timothy Leary, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, and Gregory Corso.

    Burroughs Live gathers all the interviews, both published and unpublished, given by William Burroughs, as well as conversations with well-known writers, artists, and musicians such as Tennessee Williams, Timothy Leary, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, and Gregory Corso. The book provides a fascinating account of Burroughs's life as a literary outlaw. Illuminating many aspects of his work and many facets of his mind, it brings out his scathing humor, powerful intelligence, and nightmarish vision.

  • Why Different?

    Why Different?

    A Culture of Two Subjects

    Luce Irigaray and Sylvère Lotringer

    A collection of interviews that deal explicitly with the relationship between daughter and mother, the sexuation of language, the symbolic order, and the importance of both history and philosophy for the liberation of the feminine subject.

    For Luce Irigaray, one of the most original French feminist theorists, deconstructing the patriarchal tradition is not enough. She admits that it is not an easy task, but she believes that it is necessary to also define new values directly or indirectly suitable to feminine subjectivity and to feminine identity. She begins this project by analyzing and interpreting the absence of the feminine subject in the definition of dominant cultural values. She then wonders how these new values can be constructed without simply reversing the roles. Far from implying a hierarchy, difference affirms the coexistence and fruitful encounter of two different identities. These two heterogeneous identities, masculine and feminine, are not socially but ontologically constructed and describing the feminine requires establishing methods other than those already used by the masculine subject. Why Different? is a collection of interviews, conducted in both France and Italy, that deal explicitly with the relationship between daughter and mother, the sexuation of language, the symbolic order, and the importance of both history and philosophy for the liberation of the feminine subject. In Why Different? Irigaray elaborates on issues brought up in her other books, Speaking is Never Neutral, I Love to You, Thinking the Difference, and To Be Two and brings them to fruition.

  • Politics of the Very Worst

    Politics of the Very Worst

    An Interview with Philippe Petit

    Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer

    Summarizes Virilio's speculations about the impact that accidents will have on the planet now that we operate on one-world time.

    Based upon a 1996 conversation Paul Virilio had with French journalist Phillipe Petit, The Politics of the Very Worst summarizes Virilio's speculations about the impact that accidents will have on the planet now that we operate on one-world time. Virilio argues that accidents have now lost all particularity. Accidents and events can no longer be confined to markers in history like Auschwitz or Hiroshima. Trajectories once had three dimensions: past, present, and future. But now, the hyper-concentration of time into "real time" reduces all trajectories to nothing. Consequently, an accident of time is bound to affect our entire being as well as the entire planet. And this is the hidden face of technical and scientific progress that Virilio is attempting to reveal, shrugging off any illusion we may have left about its alleged benefits.Globalization doesn't make the planet bigger, it signals the beginning of "the great confinement." Speed pollutes the distances of the world. After the "green ecology" (the pollution of nature), we are now experiencing another, more invisible and mental, kind of pollution: the "gray ecology." Soon, Virilio suggests, we are going to experience the end of the world—not the apocalyptic end, but the world as finite. The communication revolution, the attainment of absolute speed, is the reduction of the world to a virtual city in which democracy is no longer possible. This extermination of world-space is a cataclysmic event. For the first time, history has hit a cosmological limit.

  • Pure War

    Pure War

    Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer

    In this dazzling dialogue with Sylvere Lotringer, Paul Virilio for the first time displayed the whole range of his reflections on the effect of speed on our civilization—every one of which has been dramatically confirmed over the years since this book's publication.

    "Pure war" is the name of the invisible war that technology is waging against humanity. In this dazzling dialogue with Sylvere Lotringer, Paul Virilio for the first time displayed the whole range of his reflections on the effect of speed on our civilization and every one of them has been dramatically confirmed over the years. For Virilio, the foremost philosopher of speed, the "technical surprise" of World War I was the discovery that the wartime economy could not be sustained unless it was continued in peacetime. As a consequence, the distinction between war and peace ceased to apply, inaugurating the military-industrial complex and the militarization of science itself.Every new invention casts a long shadow that we are generally unwilling to acknowledge in the name of progress: the invention of automobiles inaugurated car-crashes; the invention of nuclear energy, Hiroshima and Tchernobyl. The technologies of instant communications have invented another kind of accident: the extermination of space and the derealization of time. Instant feedback is shrinking the planet to nothing, and "globalization" is its ultimate accident. First published in 1983, this book introduced Virilio's thinking to the United States. For successive generations of readers, it remains one of the most influential and far-reaching essays of our time.

  • Soft Subversions

    Soft Subversions

    Félix Guattari and Sylvère Lotringer

    This collection of Felix Guattari's essays, lectures, and interviews traces the militant anti-psychiatrist and theorist's thought and activity throughout the 1980s ("the winter years"). Concepts such as "micropolitics," "schizoanalysis," and "becoming-woman" open up new horizons for political and creative resistance in the "postmedia era." Guattari's energetic analyses of art, cinema, youth culture, economics, and power formations introduce a radically inventive thought process engaged in liberating subjectivity from the standardizing and homogenizing processes of global capitalism.

  • Foucault Live

    Foucault Live

    Collected Interviews, 1961–1984

    Michel Foucault and Sylvère Lotringer

    The most accessible and exhaustive introduction to Foucault's thought to date, including every extant interview made by Foucault from the mid-60s until his death in 1984.

    Currently in its fourth printing, Foucault Live is the most accessible and exhaustive introduction to Foucault's thought to date. Composed of every extant interview made by Foucault from the mid-60s until his death in 1984, Foucault Live sheds new light on the philosopher's ideas about friendship, the intent behind his classical studies, while clarifying many of the professional and popular misinterpretations of his ideas over the course of his career. As Gilles Deleuze noted, "the interviews in this book go much further than anything Foucault ever wrote, and they are indispensable in understanding his life work." Most notably, Foucault Live includes interviews he made with the gay underground press during his stays in America during the 1970s. In them, Foucault suggests that homosexuality presents a new paradigm for ways of living beyond the predictable, binary couple. All of the philosopher's interests, from madness and delinquency to film and sexuality, and their resultant writings, are probed by knowledgeable critics and journalists. After reading this book, the reader can explore key notions such as episteme, savoir and connaissance, archeology, and archive, without the knitted brow that plagued Foucault's public when he was alive. This is the guide to Foucault's life as an agent provocateur in the world of philosophy and scholarship.

  • Chaosophy

    Chaosophy

    Félix Guattari and Sylvère Lotringer

    Guattari's post-Marxist vision of capitalism provides a new definition not only of mental illness, but also of the micropolitical means of its subversion.

    Everything is rational in capitalism, except capital or capitalism itself. The stock market is certainly rational; one can understand it, study it, capitalists know how to use it, and yet it is completely delirious, it is mad. That's why we say: the rational always is the rationality of an irrational. Marx is fascinated by capitalist mechanisms precisely because the system is demented, yet works very well at the same time. Down below, there are investments of desire that cannot be confused with the investments of interest: all kinds of libidinous-unconscious flows that make up the delirium of this society. The true history is the history of desire.

    This collection of essays and interviews edited by Sylvere Lotringer and published in 1995, focuses on the French anti-psychiatrist and theorist's work as director of the experimental La Borde clinic ("A Clinic Unlike Any Other") and longtime collaborator with the philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Chaosophy is a groundbreaking introduction to Guattari's theories on "schizo-analysis": a process meant to replace Freudian interpretation with a more pragmatic, experimental, and collective approach rooted in reality. Unlike Freud, Guattari believes that schizophrenia is an extreme mental state induced by the capitalist system itself, which keeps enforcing neurosis as a way of maintaining normality. Guattari's post-Marxist vision of capitalism provides a new definition not only of mental illness, but also of the micropolitical means of its subversion.This collection contains key essays, such as, "Balance-Sheet Program for Desiring-Machines" and "Capitalism and Schizophrenia," co-signed by Deleuze (with whom he co-authored Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus), and the perennially provocative "Everybody Wants To Be a Fascist."

  • More & Less 2

    More & Less 2

    Sylvère Lotringer

    Contributors: Todd Alden, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Georges Bataille, Jean Baudrillard, David Brown, Gilles Deleuze, Craig Ellwood, Bob Flanagan, Michel Foucault, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Mike Kelley, Joseph Kosuth, Chris Kraus, Julia Kristeva, Don Kubly, Sylvère Lotringer, Deran Ludd, John Miller, Eileen Myles, Darcy Jo Paley, Ann Rower, Sue Spaid, Frances Stark, Mark Stritzel, James Tyler.

    Contributors Todd Alden, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Georges Bataille, Jean Baudrillard, David Brown, Gilles Deleuze, Craig Ellwood, Bob Flanagan, Michel Foucault, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Mike Kelley, Joseph Kosuth, Chris Kraus, Julia Kristeva, Don Kubly, Sylvère Lotringer, Deran Ludd, John Miller, Eileen Myles, Darcy Jo Paley, Ann Rower, Sue Spaid, Frances Stark, Mark Stritzel, James Tyler.

  • Hannibal Lecter, My Father

    Hannibal Lecter, My Father

    Kathy Acker and Sylvère Lotringer

    A collection of early and not-so-early work by the mistress of gut-level fiction-making.

    You can say I write stories with sex and violence and therefore my writing isn't worth considering because it uses content much less lots of content. Well, I tell you this: 'Prickly race, who know nothing except how to eat out your hearts with envy, you don't eat cunt'... Edited by Sylvere Lotringer and published in 1991, this handy, pocket-sized collection of some early and not-so-early work by the mistress of gut-level fiction-making, Hannibal Lecter, My Father gathers together Acker's raw, brilliant, emotional and cerebral texts from 1970s, including the self-published 'zines written under the nom-de-plume, The Black Tarantula. This volume features, among others, the full text of Acker's opera, The Birth of the Poet, produced at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1985, Algeria, 1979 and fragments of Politics, written at the age of 21. Also included is the longest and definitive interview Acker ever gave over two years: a chatty, intriguing and delightfully self-deprecating conversation with Semiotext(e) editor Sylvere Lotringer—which is trippy enough in itself as Lotringer, besides being a real person, has appeared as a character in Acker's fiction. And last, but not least, is the full transcript of the decision reached by West Germany's Federal Inspection Office for Publications Harmful to Minors in which Acker's work was judged to be "not only youth-threatening but also dangerous to adults," and subsequently banned. Acker is the sort of the writer that should be read first at 16, so that you can spend the rest of your life trying to figure her out; she confuses, infuriates, perplexes and then all of a sudden the writing seems to be in your bloodstream, like some kind of benign virus. She's definitely not for the easily offended—but then, there are worse things in life than being offended. Such as the things that Acker writes about...

  • Germania

    Germania

    Heiner Müller and Sylvère Lotringer

    Reflections on the laws of history from the standpoint of someone straddling the Berlin Wall.

    Heiner Muller, East German author of Hamletmachine and Medea, was the preeminent German successor of Bertholt Brecht at the end of the twentieth century. In this collection of essays, stories, and interviews conducted by Sylvere Lotringer, Muller reflects on the laws of history from the standpoint of someone straddling the Berlin Wall. Muller saw the wall as both repression and protection of his compatriots from the inevitable triumph of capitalism. His work evokes the wit and compactness of Brecht, with an added psychotropic dimension. Haunted by World War II, Muller was a leading figure in European contemporary literature, whose writing anticipates a future beyond the bipolarity of twentieth-century politics.

Contributor

  • Brian Weil, 1979–95

    Brian Weil, 1979–95

    Being in the World

    Stamatina Gregory

    The first career retrospective of activist photographer Brian Weil, whose work and practice explored insular cultures.

    This book offers the first career retrospective of Brian Weil (1954–1996), an artist whose photographs pushed viewers into a deeply unsteadying engagement with insular communities and subcultures. A younger contemporary of such participant-observer photographers as Larry Clark and Nan Goldin, Weil took photographs that foreground the complex relationships between photographer and subject, and between photograph and viewer.

    Weil was a member of ACT UP and the founder of New York City's first needle exchange, and his photographs became inextricably tied to his activist practice. His late work, an extensive series of portraits whose subjects bear witness to the emerging AIDS pandemic, is included here, along with selections from several earlier and concurrent projects: Sex (underground sex and bondage participants), Miami Crime (homicide scenes investigated by the Miami Police Department), Hasidim (populations of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and the Catskills), and an extensive video project with members of nascent transgender support groups.

    This book commemorates a 2013 exhibition of Brian Weil's work at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and includes in-depth essays on Weil by Stamatina Gregory and Jennifer Burris, an interiew with the artist by Claudia Gould, and reprints of archival edited notes discussing crime and photographic evidence based on a series of interviews conducted by Sylvère Lotringer with filmmaker George Diaz in the 1980s.

  • The Agony of Power

    The Agony of Power

    Jean Baudrillard

    Baudrillard's unsettling coda: previously unpublished texts written just before the visionary theorist's death in 2007.

    History that repeats itself turns to farce. But a farce that repeats itself ends up making a history.—from The Agony of Power

    In these previously unpublished manuscripts written just before his death in 2007, Jean Baudrillard takes a last crack at the bewildering situation currently facing us as we exit the system of “domination” (based on alienation, revolt, revolution) and enter a world of generalized “hegemony” in which everyone becomes both hostage and accomplice of the global market. But in the free-form market of political and sexual liberation, as the possibility of revolution (and our understanding of it) dissipates, Baudrillard sees the hegemonic process as only beginning. Once expelled, negativity returns from within ourselves as an antagonistic force—most vividly in the phenomenon of terrorism, but also as irony, mockery, and the symbolic liquidation of all human values. This is the dimension of hegemony marked by an unbridled circulation—of capital, goods, information, or manufactured history—that is bringing the very concept of exchange to an end and pushing capital beyond its limits: to the point at which it destroys the conditions of its own existence. In the system of hegemony, the alienated, the oppressed, and the colonized find themselves on the side of the system that holds them hostage. In this paradoxical moment in which history has turned to farce, domination itself may appear to have been a lesser evil.This book gathers together three essays—“From Domination to Hegemony,” "The White Terror of World Order," and "Where Good Grows"—and a 2005 interview with Baudrillard by Sylvère Lotringer. Semiotext(e) launched Baudrillard into English back in the early 1980s; now, as our media and information infested “ultra-reality” finally catches up with his theory, Semiotext(e) offers The Agony of Power, Baudrillard's unsettling coda.

  • In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities, New Edition

    In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities, New Edition

    Jean Baudrillard

    Baudrillard's remarkably prescient meditation on terrorism throws light on post-9/11 delusional fears and political simulations.

    Published one year after Forget Foucault, In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities (1978) may be the most important sociopolitical manifesto of the twentieth century: it calls for nothing less than the end of both sociology and politics. Disenfranchised revolutionaries (the Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof Gang) hoped to reach the masses directly through spectacular actions, but their message merely played into the hands of the media and the state. In a media society meaning has no meaning anymore; communication merely communicates itself. Jean Baudrillard uses this last outburst of ideological terrorism in Europe to showcase the end of the "Social." Once invoked by Marx as the motor of history, the masses no longer have sociological reality. In the electronic media society, all the masses can do—and all they will do—is enjoy the spectacle. In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities takes to its ultimate conclusion the "end of ideologies" experienced in Europe after the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the death of revolutionary illusions after May 1968. Ideological terrorism doesn't represent anything anymore, writes Baudrillard, not even itself. It is just the last hysterical reaction to discredited political illusions.

  • Forget Foucault, New Edition

    Forget Foucault, New Edition

    Jean Baudrillard

    Characterizing it as a "mythic discourse," Jean Baudrillard proceeds, in this brilliant essay, to dismantle the powerful, seductive figure of Michel Foucault.

    In 1976, Jean Baudrillard sent this essay to the French magazine Critique, where Michel Foucault was an editor. Foucault was asked to reply, but remained silent. Forget Foucault (1977) made Baudrillard instantly infamous in France. It was a devastating revisitation of Foucault's recent History of Sexuality—and of his entire oeuvre—and also an attack on those philosophers, like Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who believed that desire could be revolutionary. In Baudrillard's eyes, desire and power were interchangeable, so desire had no place in Foucault's work. There is no better introduction to Baudrillard's polemical approach to culture than these pages, in which Baudrillard dares Foucault to meet the challenge of his own thought. This Semiotext(e) edition of Forget Foucault is accompanied by a dialogue with Sylvère Lotringer, "Forget Baudrillard," a reevaluation by Baudrillard of his lesser-known early works as a post-Marxian thinker. Lotringer presses Baudrillard to explain how he arrived at his infamous extrapolationist theories from his roots in the nineteenth and early twentieth century social and anthropological works of Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, and Emil Durkheim.

  • Imported

    Imported

    A Reading Seminar

    Rainer Ganahl

    From 1993-96, artist Rainer Ganahl held six reading seminars with six different bibliographies in six different countries and entitled this public project; "IMPORTED—A READING SEMINAR, Or How to Reinvent the Coffee Table: 25 Books for Instant Use (7 Different National Versions).” Imported – A Reading Seminar is an extension of that project and gathers together a collection of texts with the common theme of import. For this volume, Ganahl invited a series of authors who have an intimate relation with each country he visited to contribute texts or interviews addressing the consequences of (cultural) exchange, globalization, nationalism, multinationalism, Orientalism, Eurocentrism, tourism, languages, theory, desires, identity, and politics from a variety of perspectives. The interview between Kojin Karatani and Sabu Kohso, included in this volume, addresses important economical and political aspects along with its instrumentality in the construction of nations and of race consciousness; Bill Arning's text demonstrates how the author came to understand through his experience as a curator that sexuality always has a specific cultural context; Coco Fusco deals with issues of prostitution in socialist countries now in the process of transition to capitalism; dealing with displacement of collective identities and their representation, Sami Naïr asks the question: What is it to be Arab? And Sylvere Lotringer: How can one become a foreigner in a foreign country. The resulting volume includes texts in English, Japanese, Russian, German, and French by nineteen different authors. Knowledge of a foreign language helps, but is not necessary. Along with those already mentioned included are texts by Julia Kristeva, Gayatri Spivak, Edward Said, Zeigam Azizov, Lisa Adkins, Dan Bacalzo, Benjamin Buchloh, Karen Kelsky, Dana Leonard, Edward Soja, Victor Tupitsyn, Wulf Schmidt-Wulfen.

  • Polysexuality

    Polysexuality

    François Peraldi

    Mixing documents, interviews, fiction, theory, poetry, psychiatry and anthropology, "Polysexuality" became the encyclopedia sexualis of a continent that is still emerging.

    Originally conceived as a special Semiotext(e) issue on homosexuality at the end of the 70s, “Polysexuality" quickly evolved into a more complex and iconoclastic project whose intent was to do away with recognized genders altogether, considered far too limitative. The project landed somewhere between humor, anarchy, science-fiction, utopia and apocalypse. In the few years that it took to put it together, it also evolved from a joyous schizo concept to a darker, neo-Lacanian elaboration on the impossibility of sexuality. The tension between the two, occasionally perceptible, is the theoretical subtext of the issue. Upping the ante on gender distinctions, "Polysexuality" started by blowing wide open all sexual classifications, inventing unheard-of categories, regrouping singular features into often original configurations, like Corporate Sex, Alimentary Sex, Soft or Violent Sex, Discursive Sex, Self- Sex, Animal Sex, Child Sex, Morbid Sex, or Sex of the Gaze. Mixing documents, interviews, fiction, theory, poetry, psychiatry and anthropology, "Polysexuality" became the encyclopedia sexualis of a continent that is still emerging. What it displayed in all its forms could be called, broadly speaking, the Sexuality of Capital. (Actually the issue being rather hot, it was decided to cool it off somewhat by only using “capitals” throughout the issue. It was also the first issue for which we used the computer). The "Polysexuality" issue was attacked in Congress for its alleged advocation of animal sex. Includes work by Alain Robbe-Grillet, Félix Guattari, Paul Verlaine, William S. Burroughs, Georges Bataille, Pierre Klossowski, Roland Barthes, Paul Virilio, Peter Lamborn Wilson, and more.